I once asked a friend where she would go if she had a time machine. For me, this conjures up images of ancient Egypt, times when natural landscapes flourished… or to the 1940’s, so I could wear those fantastic outfits (and perhaps star in a Busby Berkeley picture.) Apparently, my friend had only one image. She simply and without hesitation replied, “To the 80’s. To see The Smiths live.”
For some a musical sensation, The Smiths were borne out of Manchester, England in the early 80’s — sadly but truly disbanding just a few years later. Pop icons Morrissey and Johnny Marr headed the band… vocalist and guitarist respectively. Morrissey captures isolation at its finest… an isolation from both circumstance and choice. Throughout their repertoire, he incessantly pokes grating fun at himself and the world. Melancholy is the rule.
The Smiths loomed large over my college years. I suppose there weren’t many days that passed without them, (and a quote or two from a David Lynch film.) I lived in a charming yellow house with two incredible friends. The kind of friends who plant memories into your life, memories that can sustain you when hope is lost or little.
We once had a Smith’s party in the charming yellow house, requested that everyone wear black, and bring their self-deprecating attitudes. We handed out invitations to strangers on campus. What better way to make new friends, right? Hmm. Needless to say, no one showed. The party was still a huge sensation… three Smiths fans spinning about, martinis in hand singing, “…to die by your side, the pleasure, the privilege is mine…” And we meant it.
Recently, I’ve downloaded the complete discography and revisited the sharp wit and crooning cynicism of Morrissey. I can’t pick a favorite song. I just can’t. I love them all. It’s the memories… so intertwined with the music.
I’m not one to pass up an evening with Morrissey and the gang, but I think I’ll stick to listening to them in this decade… and save my time machine travels for… the charming yellow house.
I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
The lanes were silent
With nothing or no one around for miles
I doused our friendly venture
With a hard-faced
I started something
I forced you into a zone
And you were clearly
Never meant to go
Hair brushed and parted
Typical me, typical me
I started something
…and now I’m not too sure